• Traditional prospecting methods are slow, manual, and inefficient. If you’re all too familiar with task management consisting of scattered spreadsheets and human error, you know how frustrating it can be to deliver fast and effective prospect outreach. Small mistakes can result in huge setbacks, such as lost productivity, time, and opportunities.

    Prospecting is often cited as the most challenging part of the sales process—in fact, research shows it can take up to 18 or more dials to connect with a prospect. We’re here to help.

    This seller’s guide will help you evaluate your current prospecting strategy, pinpoint your strengths, identify your weaknesses—and create an action plan. When it comes to prospecting, these three key pillars will ensure your sales team is well-aligned to successfully reach your goals:

    • Systems

    • Outreach

    • Metrics

    Learn why these pillars matter and how you can assess and improve the effectiveness of your sales processes and prospecting strategies for increased pipeline and revenue.

  • Systems

    The systems you have in place are vital to fast and effective outreach and your ability to sell. According to Forbes, on average, 64.8 percent of sales representatives’ time is spent on non-revenue generating activities. With that much time back, how many more prospects could you reach?

    To mitigate wasted time, you need a strong sales engagement solution that is simple and easy-to-use, while also enriched with data to help manage workflows, streamline administrative tasks, and provide analytics and monitoring.

    Do you implement these tactics in your prospecting strategy?

    When evaluating your current process, consider the presence of the following tactics:  automation, a high-quality customer relationship management tool (CRM)—that integrates with other systems—account-based marketing, and a lot of data. Let’s break down why each of these tactics is important to have in your prospecting strategy.

    Automate tasks

    According to Hubspot, salespeople only spend one-third of their day actually talking to prospects. The rest of their day is often spent writing emails (21 percent), entering data (17 percent), prospecting and researching leads (17 percent), attending internal meetings (12 percent), and scheduling calls (12 percent).

    Whether it be through automated email templates or activities, direct dialing, scheduling meetings, creating workflows, streamlining your tech stack, or weeding out unfit prospects—you can use automation to save your team time and grow your business at scale.

    Plus, research shows many sales reps have anywhere from 100 to 300 callbacks in their pipelines, and they may only make it through 25 per day. A quality automation tool can free up time, thereby quadrupling that number.

    Implement a CRM

    A CRM is your source of truth across your sales organization and manages all communication and interaction with prospects. According to Salesmate, the average sales rep spends about 23 percent of time on administrative tasks. With the help of a CRM, that number is cut down to 10 percent, enabling sales reps to focus more of their time on converting leads.

    If you have a sales engagement platform that is compatible with your CRM, sales teams can log real-time prospect conversations, expediting the sales cycle in an organized, streamlined fashion.

    Align marketing and sales efforts

    Account-based marketing is a strategic approach that combines sales and marketing to target prospective accounts with personalized messaging. ABM has been a hot buzzword for the last few years—and for good reason. The ROI from ABM is often linked to increased win rates, increased closed-won opportunities, a reduction in acquisition costs, an increase in average deal sizes, and more.

    Use data to drive decisions

    Data is integral to any and every effective sales operation. When sellers are armed with trusted, real-time data, they can focus on best-fit customers, grow their prospect pool, and flag upsell and cross-sell opportunities to increase account value. Without data, you’re guessing. And when you guess, you leave your company’s growth and ultimate success up to chance.

  • Outreach

    How confident are you in the outreach methods you use to reach your prospects? While understanding your prospect’s pain points is extremely important so you deliver meaningful, personalized messages—so is how and where you deliver that message. Increase the likelihood of prospects being receptive to your pitch by reaching them in the format they are most likely to engage with.

    Do your outreach methods include these tactics?

    Let’s break down why each of these methods of outreach is important in generating outbound leads.

    Phone calls

    There are two types of calls: cold calls and warm calls. Cold calls are when you contact someone with whom you’ve had no prior interaction or engagement. Warm calls are when you call someone who has had some sort of prior contact with your business.

    Both types of calls are highly valuable—as long as you have accurate, up-to-date data. Without it, a massive number of the calls you make will be dead ends and time-wasters.

    With a sales engagement solution, you can build dialing lists quickly so you’re reaching desired direct business or mobile numbers and you can easily assign tasks to your teams. You can also leave pre-recorded voicemails to spend more time prospecting and less time repeating yourself.

    Video calls

    As buyers demand personalized experiences and solutions, video outreach can be a prime example of creating a personal, human touch that can potentially make the difference in a prospect’s experience with a vendor. Ways to measure video success and influence on sales tactics can include looking at prospect engagement via email (i.e., opens and response rates) and whether videos are influencing meeting bookings and win rates.

    Emails

    It probably comes as no surprise that email is often the preferred method of communication for salespeople. When evaluating your prospecting strategies, ask yourself if you have a streamlined email process in place where you can schedule personalized campaigns, see a live feed of emails delivered and opened, and track conversations. Additionally, if you find success with a certain template, you should be able to quickly and easily distribute it to the whole team for use.

    Here’s an example of a sample opener to get you started: 

    Hey [First Name].

    As a [Title] at [Company], you must be concerned with [Pain Point]. 

    Multiple touchpoints

    Research shows more than five touchpoints are required to secure an initial meeting, including phone calls, email, and social media outreach. Prospecting is no easy task and requires grit and perseverance. To maximize prospecting efforts, leverage autodialing capabilities, or better yet, build out salesflows in a sales engagement platform—in other words, a multi-step prospecting drip with automated emails, phone calls, and reminders for social media outreach. You can also templatize emails with variable copy for speedy execution.

  • Metrics

    To track your progress, begin benchmarking week-over-week, month-over-month, and quarter-over-quarter reports so you can evaluate performance and adjust your tactics. If you aren’t regularly tracking and measuring, you can’t pinpoint areas of improvement or develop contingency plans to meet your year-end goals.

    Begin with monitoring your opens, response rate, unsubscribes, call logs and durations, and overall results and compare them month-over-month to aggregate performance for phone and email activities by time of day and/or date.

    Do you track these metrics on a routine basis?

    According to HubSpot, these are five of the most important sales metrics to track. Let’s break down why.

    Percentage of sales team hitting quota

    Pay close attention to what percentage of your sales team is hitting quota—not only to assess the skills and effectiveness of your team, but also to re-evaluate what your quota should be for the upcoming quarter or year.

    If the number of sales reps hitting quota is unusually low, that may mean you have unrealistic expectations. Conversely, if everyone on your team is hitting quota, perhaps you should shoot higher.

    Average deal size

    The goal for most companies is to gain bigger and bigger accounts as their business grows. Having a clear view of how much money you’re bringing in per deal over time tells you if you’re headed in that direction. Additionally, this metric can be a crucial starting point for discussions surrounding the types of accounts your team should and should not pursue.

    Conversion rate or win rate

    Conversion rate tells you the percentage of leads that turn into customers. Tracking this metric is a major indication of how effective your current processes—and people—are. Look at historical data to determine what a solid win rate—the percentage of opportunities quoted that the organization then won—is for your business, and create target goals from there.

    Revenue

    It’s not groundbreaking to say that revenue is what every business should—and does—care about most. Not only should you keep a close eye on your overall revenue, but also ask yourself if you’re granularly breaking down the numbers to understand where revenue is coming from (i.e., new business, cross-sells, renewals).

    Sales funnel leakage

    If you know where you’re losing most of your prospects, you can use that information to improve outcomes. For example, if most of your prospects are dropping off near the finish line, you can re-evaluate your last few steps in the sales cycle.

    Should you bring a senior executive on board for one final push? Are you offering free demos? This knowledge allows you the opportunity to reduce leakage and increase win rates (and ultimately, revenue!).

  • Conclusion

    Now that you’ve scored your sales prospecting strategy against each sales prospecting pillar, assess and re-evaluate your chances of meeting your quota and reaching your goals this year. Where is there room for improvement?

    If you checked “yes” more than “no,”—congrats!—that means that you’ve optimized your prospecting strategies to put you on the fast track to meeting (and even exceeding) your quota. However, if you checked “no” more than “yes,” it may be time to re-evaluate your prospecting processes and systems that are getting in the way of maximum productivity and pipeline targets.

About ZoomInfo Engage

ZoomInfo Engage is sales engagement reimagined. A cloud-based, dynamic sales engagement platform, Engage enables sellers to build relationships, accelerate pipeline, review and track analytics, and maintain laser focus throughout the day. By combining the best of dialing, email, automated cadences, and analytics into a single, comprehensive environment, the intuitive platform streamlines all modern forms of communication between the buyer and the seller, infusing greater intelligence effectiveness and efficiency throughout the entire sales cycle.

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